NONPROFIT BRANDING: Why the Lord of Logos rules the Nonprofit Marketplace!

iStock_000011603626MediumThe Lord of Logos – Powerful, but Benign

We all develop affinity for specific foods, products, activities, causes, teams, beliefs and more. More important: we define ourselves – and interpret other people – by observing evidence of personal affinities.

Affinities generate personal descriptors – a form of verbal and visual shorthand. Market-savvy nonprofit managers strategically obtain three major benefits by using visual descriptors in marketing and fundraising programs. 

Verbal Shorthand – Think how often phrases like these help define a person.

Soccer Mom. Lakers Fan. MIT Student. Deadhead. Fly Fisherman. Conservative. Sailing Enthusiast. Christian. Serial killer. Pacifist. Shortstop. Hindu. Groupie. Hangman. Goth. Tea-party member. Veteran. Feminist. Pro-This. Anti-That.

Nonverbal Shorthand –  Logos are equally effective as visual shorthand. The affinity-logo a person flaunts is displaying a great deal about his or her values and commitments.  When your nonprofit logo is flashed, the person who sees your logo knows that your supporter could have selected…

  • an item with no logo
  • or – an item with a different logo
  • or – an item with the logo of your competitor.

Thus, displaying your logo is an affinity-choice – a public statement of personal support!Woman with a guilty conscience

You receive three benefits from this choice: 

  • ENHANCED VISIBILITY –  Nonprofits compete for press, for funding, for volunteers, for good board members, for identity, for respect. By displaying your logo a supporter boosts your brand equity within the highly competitive nonprofit market.
  • IMPLICIT ENDORSEMENT – the person displaying your logo publicly demonstrates personal support. The implicit message: I like this nonprofit mission….. and you should like it, too.
  • REINFORCED AFFINITY – By communicating affinity for your mission the supporter makes a public statement about himself or herself, thus reinforcing the affinity that triggered the display in the first place.

The Result of These Benefits

The lowly ceramic mug is more than a device to hold coffee. It is a device to hold your logo in places where it will be noticed and appreciated – on desks, workbenches, tables and counters, in homes and workplaces and wherever else people drink beverage. Imprinted apparel is not a fashion statement. It is your walking billboard – a mobile mission statement in graphic form. And so it goes with tote bags, key tags, desk accessories and thousands of other imprinted promotional products that are seen everywhere. Seen every hour. Seen every day. Seen by everybody – colleagues, friends, enemies, relatives, neighbors, customers, constituents, and strangers. Seen by current supporters.

Flaunted by your current supporter and seen by your future supporters. 

That is why the Lord of Logos Rules the Nonprofit Marketplace!


FACTOID: A truckload of research over the last couple decades demonstrates this: of all print and broadcast media, products with imprinted logos display personal affinities with the lowest cost per impression and greatest impact per impression.